Note: This was a quick, tidied up version of a spur of the moment fic for a lovely requester on the masskink meme. An old Garrus and FemShepard reaching the end of their days, with snippets from their past (and apologies to the requester for straying from the prompt). As always, reviews and such are always greatly appreciated but not necessary. Cheers!

She is fast as lightning and burning just a bright, pushing him across the hundred year distance.

He thought they'd at least have fifteen more years together. But as the salarian doctor droned on to him, he shut his eyes and refused to cast out what he wanted in place of what was. Modern medicine was strong, but a one hundred and fifty year lifespan was merely an extremely optimal figure, not an average. His own grizzled fingers clutched her wrinkled hand as she politely gestured the doctor away with the same authority as always, her chin high and her eyes serious even as she relaxed back into the bed. He was still as stubborn as when he had been a child, and he rejected the idea that one hundred years was enough time with Shepard.

If anyone had told Garrus Vakarian the direction his life would take when he had started his military training at age fifteen, he would have scoffed, perhaps laughed in their face. Maybe even taught them a lesson with his fists if they had persisted.

He was as proud and hot-headed as ever, the son of a famed C-sec Officer, the model turian, living as a part of a race still recoiling from a surprising skirmish with a new and aggressive species. Humans- strange things, completely ambitious, aggressive, surprisingly adaptable, and difficult to deter. Most of all, highly individualistic, and completely unpredictable - the exact opposite of what an ideal turian sought to be.

His father had thus done his best to begin to mould him to the turian ideal as well, and in his impressionable youth, Garrus had complied. He had been extremely young when the news of the violent contact with the new species had been broadcasted across Palaven, but he still had vague memories of the shock and awe that has reverberated across the region, his father's resentful coughs whenever one of them appeared on the screen, as he stared at them – those fleshy creatures with a plethora of spindly fingers and big eyes and limp, thread-like fringes.

At fifteen, if anyone had told Garrus Vakarian that he would hopelessly choose a human as his life-mate, he would have laughed. That sort of thing was reserved for the sexual deviants and criminals in the outer limits of space – Omega and the like, crooks and rejects that enjoyed human flexibility and their various "oral talents" and creativity, or so he overheard in the military quarters he shared with other turians. He had little interest in settling down, even less with newfound aliens. He was still going to change the world, carry on his father's legacy and administer justice, keep order, be a model officer, be a model turian. Do what is right, no matter how hard it is – do it for good, no matter how long you must endure – for the good, for what is right, for what is just.

They can't go about it as roughly or vigorously as they used to, but she still surprises him when she shoves him towards the elevator or pushes him down on the couch in their quarters. Her skin is looser now, and his talons are slowing dulling – the cuts he leaves don't heal as quickly and the bruises linger, and more small scars dot her body, souvenirs of battle –and some from him – but she still kisses his neck wildly and runs her hands through is fringe as she nips at his less-than-pliable lips, teasing and taunting him as her hands press against his chest. The carapace covering his body once had a fine metallic sheen, but now is scuffed and cracking with age, thinning as the soft leathery skin between them starts to dull. But he still claws on her back and digs into her thighs, harsh breaths escaping him as he thrusts in and out of her, her hands squeezing his shoulders and her face buried in his neck.

With age came wisdom, and even though he was still brash, he'd found that working with humans had changed his opinion. They got work done, and had less inhibitions towards disobeying orders in order to be more efficient. Admirable creatures, even. So when given the opportunity to join with the famed Commander Shepard in her hunt for Saren Arterius, it was an offer he could not refuse.

He could not have guessed how far she would lead him – even in her absence – to Omega and back, (now harder and colder and older), to the pursuit of the collector's and deep into their base. Deep into combat with the Reapers. No one else made him feel quite as strong and vulnerable as she did – so when she proposed they relieve stress together, nothing could have prepared him for the impact – what was the human term for the feeling – turtle without hell?

Naked and shaking as he was, he found, however, that something in his life was finally going right.

He had always thought that he would go before Shepard, or at least that the two of them would go out together in a blaze of glory. But Shepard never died in his mind – he simply did not imagine it - could not. If she did, he was sure she'd pop up two years later, wily and young and hauling his creaking joints to the next mission, running about the Normandy like there was no tomorrow.

So a sharp bitterness sprung up on him when the terms came out of their mouths – things like weakening and failing, as if Shepard could ever fail at something. As if Shepard could ever hold something called a weak heart- as if a weakening heart could ever describe Shepard. There was nothing weak about his partner – nothing –

-from the way she took on geth, battled krogans, tackled assassins and demolished reapers – from the way she debated with politicians and delivered reality to the quarian council –or from the way she pulled their squad out of the rubble or bolted through enemy fire with broken ribs – from the way she would endure with breathy moans as his sharp fingers dug into her hips and his rough plating rubbed the inside of her thighs-

No, no, Shepard - what a laughable concept – failing, weakening, frail heart – those were not Shepard.

But as the doctors explain, combat is stressful on the body, regardless of shields and barriers and treatments. Years of strenuous activity and battles had worn on her body – it is even a wonder she had lived such a long life, it was only natural for vitals of the body to start showing signs of wear. All species experience this, but at least the durable turian exterior and physiology slows the process somewhat. Garrus is not sure why this angers him.

He wishes Mordin were here. Curse salarians for their short lifespans. The doctor had long since been gone, but his nephews had carried on his brilliance and striven to uphold his name. "Perhaps," he thinks, "we should go see one of them."

But Shepard hoists herself on the table, thanking the doctor and patting Garrus on the shoulder.

"C'mon, let's go, soldier," she orders with the same liveliness, "There are some merc gangs hanging around a cargo fleet that need to be taken care of."

He follows, just as he has for the past hundred years.

She always seemed to find some work – something to be done, some justice to be sought, some criminal to be disposed of.

She brushes her gray hair out of her face, lowering the gun. Garrus remains poised behind her, prepared for any surprise attempt that could come from a second agent. C-Sec guards swarm the would-be assassin as the public still reels from shock, scrambling and screaming as the politician makes away safely with his bodyguards. Shepard looks around warily, keeping her eyes on the balconies and ledges until the target is safely tucked away.

A medical team quickly arrives to deal with the gunshot the assassin has sustained to the arm, before he is cuffed and escorted.

"Thank you, Commander," says one detective, doing a quick salute and nod of the head.

Garrus picks up the boxes next to him and walks up to Shepard.

"So much for a quiet day of updating your quarters."

She'd stubbornly refused the cybernetics they offered her.

"I've got enough working here and I'm tired of those damn enhancements," she'd said, "Cerberus gave me enough implants to power a geth, anyway."

Liara and Garrus had protested nonetheless, until Shepard had promptly shut them up. She reached down and picked up the gun with her aging hands, ambling off with the weapon still clutched in her strong arms towards the shooting range. "Still as stubborn and hardened as always," the doctors had said as her slowly aging form marched away with unfaltering purpose.

He watched her take down target after target with speed and efficiency, though her finger occasionally trembled against the trigger. Hoisting the gun onto her back once the last round was shot, she turned to him with a smug expression before taking the gun off and tossing it towards him.

"A hundred and twenty one years old and I still got it."

It's a challenge and one he accepts, his six fingers tightening around the rifle as she tugs at one of his worn mandibles, an indescribable emotion flooding his chest.


She is wrinkling and her hair is gray, her stature shorter, but her arms still strong and her breaths still deep. She lives beyond her body, her crinkled eyes still fiery and commanding. That piece of muscle and bone and blood is creaking and slowing, unable to keep up with the woman inside, still moving fast as light, too fast for him to keep up with sometimes.

Her knobby hands press against his own, lined with their own wrinkles and crags and dulled talons.

"Let's see if you still got it."

She's still as young as she was ninety years ago.

She had long forsaken the familiarity of having a human lover, one thing which had remained a source of insecurity for a while even after Omega and the Reapers. The "small things" as humans put it, would never be theirs. He could never really kiss her, and there would be no soft skin for her to press into at night - they could not eat the same meals, and he could never give her children. They had been lucky in the allergic reaction department – it turned out Mordin had exaggerated the possibilities, but given them the best information possible. Reactions varied from one extreme to the other, from none to anaphylaxis, with a vast gray area in between and the latter being rarer, but they had prepared for the worst case scenario. They were the fortunate ones, and as Shepard had put it, "I've downed Ryncol without a problem, and if I can come back from the dead, there's no way you're bringing me down, Garrus Vakarian."

It seemed odd to so vigorously pursue an act which proved no practical purpose, or as Legion would have put it, was biologically impossible. Humans and turians as a rule could never reproduce. Children were impossible.

Human and turian relationships were rarer than most – bitterness over the Relay 314 Incident still lingered across regions on Palaven and Earth, though Shepard's conquests with her hodgepodge alien squad had renewed faith in the ability of all races to work together as comrades and friends.

"Ignorant and intolerant people will always exist, I can only at least hope that they will be the minority."

There was still the occasional comment, the stares in less diverse areas of space. The infrequent and short visits to Earth and Palaven had produced their fair share of animosity and disgust, particularly among the older generations. Some expressed surprise at the fact that the same generation born in the years prior to the war were so quick to pursue relations with the former enemy race.

Some members of the Hierarchy still wanted to settle the Relay 314 incident, though this, they knew, was an unrealistic and suicidal wish. Mutual turian and human aid in the Reaper war had warmed diplomatic relations, and while there remained friction from clashing cultural ideals, things had gotten significantly better.

Shepard was an example for all species to follow – courageous, strong, efficient, talented, a leader and a savior – a prime example of humanity's greatest. She and the Alliance had proven their worth – hers more than anyone, in her ability to defeat the Reapers and protect her squad along with it. There was little reason to criticize her romantic pursuits, and those who had the gall to do so in front of her were often on the receiving end of a punch to the face.

Some had said she'd forgotten the pleasure of being with a real man, with years in combat not allowing her many choices in partners. It wouldn't last, as some had said – Shepard could have anyone, and it was only a matter of time before peace would allow her the opportunity to find the comfort and familiarity with a human again.

However, Shepard never slowed down, not even when she was offered a place on the council and a prestigious home on the Citadel. "To hell with politics and fancy gardens," she said, "The Normandy is my home."

And just as with all things surrounding them, they had their defenders. As the poster children for interspecies harmony, groups everywhere used them as examples of conflicts and differences that could be overcome. Public pioneers. Examples of bonds transcending the physical. They were not shallow celebrities- they were galactic saviors whose decisions had saved billions of lives - obviously, they had done something right. Fornax had even inviting them to be on the cover of their interspecies edition, to which they had…politely declined.

There remained no shortage of awe and admiration for the pace which Commander Shepard and Officer Vakarian had kept up. There was no settling down, no stopping, no slowing. They lived as if nothing had changed.

Garrus watches over the years as he starts to think he's seeing more and more humans and turians out together, but he's not sure. So when young turians see a hardened and scarred elder in blue, some come up to him, and thank him for more than just saving their lives.

"I – I have to thank you and Shepard. Even though you didn't seek to prove anything, you really helped people like my mate and I know we could be together, without worrying about what people said."

He thinks maybe he has made a change, in more ways than he had intended.

"Saren would be rolling in his grave right now."

"Hmm, guess that's a good thing."

She thinks back to when they had first started this, still trying not to disrupt the crew and keep things under wraps. They'd had the misfortune of becoming "caught in the moment" while Shepard had been collecting files from Miranda's unoccupied office.

Garrus only remembers being roughly shoved under the desk as the former operative entered, trying not to make a sound as Shepard requested she retrieve some datapads from her own personal quarters.

Comparative research, she had said.

His father had been less than approving of his choices. All of them.

Vakarian was no small name. It was widely known around Palaven – his father's face was frequently on the holo screens, his newest accomplishments announced, his name praised – the ideal citizen, the ideal officer. Followed the law, worked within it, did things right, got them done.

Therefore there was no shortage of talk when the conservative officer's son left C-Sec to pursue a vigilante's life outside the law on Omega. Even more when news emerged that he was supposedly in a relationship with the human spectre, operating outside council orders.

Shepard was no small name.

The confrontation had not gone well, to say the least. Silence with his father had become commonplace in his life. A few more years wasn't going to change anything.

Time went by, things didn't change.

Fights were fought, mercs disposed of, slavers arrested. New species discovered, diplomatic relations entered, discoveries made. Gardner's cooking improved. Shepard's fish tank exploded a couple more times. Small footsteps sounded across the halls of the Normandy.

Garrus received an email.

Time went by, things changed.

After many years of refusing to stop her whirlwind pace regardless of her slowing body, Shepard finally lies in bed, calm and collected and still barking orders to the inefficient staff scrambling around her. She drifts in and out of sleep, as if her body is trying to make up for years of being wired and active.

Garrus can barely make it out of the docked Normandy without being swarmed by the press, vultures as they always are, wanting every detail on the status of the galaxy's savior. His senses are assaulted onboard the ship, with the vessel filled to capacity with tributes and gifts of all kinds, flowers and other nauseously fragrant gestures that seem to be pouring in from across the galaxy.

He sits besides the bed, keeping his promise that he'll be there if she needs him, even though his neck is sore and his back is giving him hell.

"How are the kids?" she asks.

He starts, surprised, but breathes a sigh of relief when he sees her alert and awake.

"Fine," he begins, "Damn punks still charging into places they have no business being in." He laughs. "I think they're a little too much like us."

Shepard shakes her head, a wry smile crossing her once full lips. "Poor runts, they didn't have much of a chance considering who raised them."

The topic had only been broached jokingly after many years.

It had started out awkward at first, a joking conversation Shepard didn't seem to have much taste for, but appeared to consider. Garrus was wary, unsure of what Shepard wanted from him, suddenly feeling at a loss for what to say. He wasn't sure what he wanted. He'd never really considered it, as much as his father had wanted him to carry on their name, but he had long forsaken what his father wanted.

"It's something to think about," Shepard had said, turning away to polish her rifle as he finished calibrations in the ship's main battery. "We're stable enough, and we know enough people to look after them in really dangerous times. It wouldn't stop us from going on the same missions."

"Are we crazy to even be thinking about this, Shepard?"

"I've never backed down from a challenge, Garrus," she stated, "Considering what we've been through, I think it's safe to say the unknown has never stopped us before. To hell with what people think. But if you're not sure about this, I'm not trying to pressure you."

"Well, if we can find out a way to make it work, then…yeah, definitely."

"Ha, you only live once, well…maybe twice…I want to try it with you, if you do. Plenty of kids are raised on ships nowadays. Quarians, Alliance military families, if they can do it, so can we."

That had been just about the extent of any serious talk.

So they weren't sure how such minimal private contemplation got out in the time it did, but before long rumors escalated into headlines, and within short time there was no shortage of controversy across the galaxy. Small human and turian groups expressed outrage at the idea, arguing that children needed stability, and living with two parents of differing species and cultures would ultimately harm them. A turian raised in a human environment could never assimilate well into turian society, and likewise for the human, or any other child. There were endless issues argued: children needed to be raised by their own species if they hoped to feel a part of it, children would be unable to relate to both parents, favoritism would always be present, and so on and so forth. Even the moderates had an opinion – the galactic spotlight would make children an easy target for terrorists and racist groups, and their behavior would be scrutinized across worlds as a test of how successful an interspecies upbringing could be.

Along with it came the various supporters, who argued that the ability to raise young members of differing species was a testament to interspecies harmony and the ability of familial love to transcend physical differences and cultural ties. Children from interspecies parents would grow up with broader cultural views and greater tolerance towards differing species and viewpoints. In addition, the ability to create families between differing species would strengthen racial relations and prove that all species could achieve common goals together – the notability of a couple such as Commander Shepard and Officer Vakarian would encourage other interspecies pairs to adopt, creating more homes for orphans across the galaxy.

Organizations across the board bombarded them with their ideal child candidates, each vying for the publicity of having the famed partners adopt one of their children. Companies publicly offered to create a genetically perfect child for the Commander, all of which they refused. Exasperated, stressed and only wishing to contemplate this privately and slowly, the consensus seemed to say that this was too controversial an issue to stir up.

"Let's go to Omega, snipe some mercs," Garrus had proposed to an exasperated Shepard after a particularly harrowing bombardment by newscasters. "I heard there are some nasty new gangs smuggling some slaves off system."

So they approached the situation with the same awkward tentativeness of any new parent when a ruddy and meek human child was (literally and metaphorically) thrown at their feet, the byproduct of Omega's violence and poverty.

It must have worked out well, somehow, because a frail turian boy joined them not many years after, small and brash and a complete nuisance to his older brother.

"You're a damn lucky bastard," Wrex drawls, "Who woulda thought a naïve turian such as yourself would get the attention of a battlemaster such as Shepard."

Wrex has hardly aged over the years, sans a couple new scars and few new craggy wrinkles. Garrus shifts on his feet. "I'm decent with a sniper rifle, and I take things out stylishly."

"Puh, don't get cocky, turian. You know you don't deserve a warrior like Shepard, but I will admit that you're not completely useless in battle."

He may be aging, but Garrus is still more than willing to take on the old krogan, old man versus old man. At least he still has speed on his side.

"You insinuating something, Wrex?"

Wrex looks over slowly, red eyes still sharp. "Not at all. Just saying you're a lucky bastard. Nothing else. Shepard's choice is Shepard's choice. And she makes good ones."

Probably the nicest comment he's ever heard Wrex give him. "At least you're able to keep up with her."

They had visited Wrex frequently over the years, to see his progress on Tuchanka, and he had made infrequent visits to the Normandy and Citadel in his free time, in an attempt to make it even.

But he shifts agitatedly today on the Normandy, watching Shepard sift through datapads from where she lies, frowning and typing things down as she continues on, refusing to stop for a second. He grunts, turning away. Damn humans and their short lifespans. He watches Shepard with some difficulty – he's lived long and watched many comrades of less-lived species decay, but seeing Shepard this way makes him fidget. She'd helped him more than any other in his 1300 year lifespan, he owed her more than just Tuchanka's revival.

Grunt has come too, impatiently pacing and growling and throwing a fit at every opportunity. He'd not wanted to miss seeing his battlemaster, and – even though he'd likely not admit it for the next hundred years – hard-assed parental figure; not after the news that she was slowly aging.

"Shepard did you well," Wrex says to Garrus after some time, "Proved not all you turians are the same."

Garrus looks at Wrex silently. The old krogan nods at him, a silent gesture he's not quite sure he's truly earned. Wrex turns away, and Garrus is snapped back to reality with the sound of Shepard's bark.

"Wipe that scowl off your face, Wrex, I'm not dead yet."

He'd always known how fortunate he was, but he stares with intent as his Commander debriefs the squad and crew, most crowded in the conference room and outside the hall. She congratulates and thanks them profusely – thanks them for all their hard work, their fighting, their time and energy, even the time they had spent cleaning up the Normandy after the battle. It had been a week after the final defeat of the Reapers. Repairs had to be made, information needed to be documented, injuries and deaths accounted for – there had been no time for themselves.

There's a final applause around the room, and Shepard looks tired, but relieved. The crew and squad file out, with Garrus in a daze, tense in his chest, wondering if this woman is really his and not some hopeless mirage. He walks with the rest of the crew to the door, stopping before exiting, waiting for everyone to leave.

Shepard remains at the head of the conference table, gazing at the beams which had fallen about the room, the various wires dangling in the corner. All she hears is the whoosh of the door closing behind her before firm hands pull her back as rough skin and hot breath assault her neck. He turns her, digging one hand into her hair and another into her hip as he nips at her neck as she arches into him, her breath hard on his neck as she fumbles for the seals of his armor. He pulls away sharply, popping the seals and yanking the obtrusive pieces away irritably, reveling in the sound of their heavy clanks as they hit the floor, Shepard impatiently pulling at the armor along with him. Their harsh, frustrated breathing is the only sound that fills the room as they struggle with the more difficult parts, hastily tugging and tearing at his clothing underneath. Damnit, from now on he was going to wear civilian clothing more often.

His clothing quickly disposed of, he roughly pulls her against his body before pressing her hard against the metal conference table, clawing and groping at her sides as her hands scratched wildly along the plates of his back, using his weight to pin her down as he squeezes her through her clothes. His taloned hands grope roughly and impatiently through the fabric, guttural growls escaping his throat as he struggles to remove the material quick enough. She helps him with the same haste, wiggling out of her uniform as he tugs and tears. She barely feels the cool air hit her before the bare skin of her stomach is pressed to his own hard body, and she throws her arm around his neck, fingers splayed across the soft leathery skin of its sides. He gasps and nips at her lips with his teeth, barely tugging. This is one thing they can't really do, but they've learned to maneuver around it with Shepard's guidance. She follows suit, pressing her lips to his mouth and grazing her teeth against his harder upper lip as his tongue snakes out to tease the soft, lower flesh of her mouth. They break away harshly as she turns to flick the end of his mandible with her tongue, and she brings her mouth to his neck, licking and biting at the soft flesh there, her fingers now clawing at his neck. He can't suppress the growl that escapes him as she runs her teeth along his throat, her hands following the arch of his neck to press the soft skin closer to her mouth, her hot breath hitting the wet trails she leaves.

He shoves her harder against the table, a small cry of surprise escaping her mouth between pants. Entwining his fingers in her hair he turns her head to expose her neck to him – he executes his revenge, leaving open mouthed trails with his tongue, his other hand grasping her upper arm with vice-like grip. He leaves small red scratches along her neck and shoulders, grazing his sharp teeth over the soft skin. Her breathy sighs echo in the room – he pulls away from her, short of breath and gazing down at her heaving chest. His hands now grasp both her arms, claws digging and leaving angry red trails in their wake as her nails scratch into the hard plates of his own arms.

She reaches down to stroke the sides of his thin waist, up to scratch and grope and squeeze at his chest, running her fingers in between the metallic carapace there as he snaps at her bra, tugging with a roughness she was now accustomed to in a turian lover. She remembers the tender carefulness he had exhibited on the night before Omega, but she had quickly quelled his inhibitions as she pressed into him – flayed him alive, leaving them both sweaty, panting, sore and completely sated, pleasure surging through her body and her inner thighs raw from the friction of rubbing against his own. He had laughed softly into her neck as they lay together, still struggling for breath, as she breathed that she really would have to go to Mordin for painkillers.

Rough hands find her bare breasts, snapping her back to the present, making her arch against the table and splay her fingers across his chest, moaning as he squeezes and teases her nipples. She's met with the warm wetness of his tongue and hot breath of his mouth as he presses against her breast, the other hand paying attention to the other, caressing the curve and kneading. She grabs his fringe and pulls him hard against her, grazing her fingers through the edges before digging her hands into his back, massaging the small spots of softness she finds between his thick skin. He shudders, and she feels him moan against her skin.

Cold air hits her wet skin as he pulls away abruptly, panting hard and chest heaving. She inadvertently rubs her thighs together, the wetness growing there under his predatory gaze. His eyes flick down to that area. They weren't going to wait, not after a week. She gasps as she's jerked forward on the table, his fingers hooking on the hem of her pants and yanking. The sound of a loud tear fills the room – a rip on the side of the garment from his hasty disregard, but she doesn't care. She pulls her legs up and helps him pull off the cumbersome clothing. Her pants have scarcely hit the floor before the negligible fabric of her underwear is pulled down her thighs and joins the rest of their tattered clothing on the floor. Barely upright on her elbows as Garrus pulls her hips to the edge of the table, her only warning is the sudden wide pressure against her entrance before he thrusts deep into her.

A hoarse yell escapes her as the throws her head back against the table, his body pressing against hers, rough carapace rubbing against soft flesh. She gasps at the sensation – her muscles fluttering and stretching around his member to accommodate him – her breath coming in short, shallow gasps. She rests her thighs in the dips of his boxy hips, feet pressing against the back of his thighs, urging him as he begins to move. He grasps one of her hands and presses his face into her cheek as he thrusts, in and out, shutting his eyes and focusing on her breaths, her smell, the feeling the warm wetness inside of her. Slowly at first, pistoning in an out in a slow rhythm, her hips moving to meet him. She arches into his narrow abdomen, his hands moving quickly to grasp and claw at her lower back, running his claws down her side and to her rear just as she grabs his hips and pulls him forward. Their breathing is faster now, shallower, louder – their mingled breaths resound across the room. Shepard moans, and sighs, thrashes her head back and forth as she grits her teeth, clawing at his lower back as he quickens the pace. He briefly gazes down to the apex of their joining, the growing wetness there – she cries out under the steadily more aggressive thrusts – harder, quicker, rougher, deeper – digs his fingers into her hips, tearing at the skin there, hunching over her sweating body. The wet slapping sound of flesh meeting flesh sounds across the room coupled with their labored breathing, and Garrus can't suppress the guttural moan that escapes his throat. She gasps and throws her legs around him, crying out as he gives into instinctual abandon, pressing into her as hard and fast as he can, his thrusts erratic and aggressive. He presses into her neck, back arching over her, the tenderness of his voice at odds with the violent joining of their hips.

Shepard, Shepard…

She suddenly tightens around him, crying out as her fingers clutch his neck and back, pliable thighs and hips moulding into him as he thrusts hard, the sensation of her clenching around him casting him over the edge. He is only allowed a few more thrusts before he gives in, erupting inside her and falling into her sweat-slick arms. He struggles to catch his breath as he listens to her heart racing, pounding in his ear, his head rising and falling with her erratic breaths.

They lie for a few minutes, attempting to regain their composure, and without much success. With shaking limbs, Garrus pushes himself off her, her eyes still shut, mouth parted with swollen lips and hair wet and matted across her forehead. The sticky smacking sound of their skin disconnecting rings in his ears as he collapses next her on the table.

Shepard slowly opens her eyes, flexes her shoulder blades. Sore, from being ground on the hard metal table. She struggles to move her shaking limbs, adjusting and regaining feeling in tired muscles. Arching her back and hoisting herself up, she rolls her neck, her body sticking to the table from the sweat. Angry red lines cross her body from his hands. She experimentally rubs her thighs together, wincing at the raw flesh stinging with the telltale stickiness of his semen.

"Ow," she chuckles, lazily turning to the officer still trying to catch his breath next to her.

"Yeah…Ow," he replies, a throaty groan resounding deep in his throat.

He's barely recovered before she's tugging at his collar to pull him up, thrusting his clothes into his limps arms. He can barely stand, and blinks in a daze down at her.

"Come on now," she says quietly, a sly smile crossing her wet lips.

"I heard my room's finally been cleaned out."

And he knows he'd never leave her.

She coughs and weakly rubs her eyes.

"Ah…dammit," she says hoarsely, "I could…really go for some… Serrice Ice Brandy right now…thought I'd be able to get some before I take myself out."

It was only fitting that the only person who'd be the end of Shepard was herself.

She didn't have much time left - her spirit agitated, tired of this slow hunk of flesh and ready to be off and free again. Their sons would likely not be in time. The eldest was on a spectre mission deep in the Terminus system and would likely not receive the message now, just as the younger was on a diplomatic trip in Khar'shan, and would not arrive before tomorrow.

Liara (emotional, attentive, and completely un-aged) had relayed messages to their old comrades, each racing to see Shepard.

Garrus coughs and takes her hand, unable to look at her face as he hunches over in his seat at the corner of the bed. He grinds his teeth and clenches his tense mandibles to his face, his breaths coming in with much more difficulty then before.

"Hey, Garrus," she croaks, using her free hand to turn his worn face towards her.

"If you go off and do something suicidal again, I'm coming back to kick your ass," she mumbles, her voice going off somewhere else.

"…That's p-pretty extreme, Commander," he manages, not being able to resist joking with her again, just like old times.

She laughs, though not without hoarse coughs following, but she chuckles afterward anyway, as if she finds this condition ironically amusing. He hears the shallow wheezing deep in her chest, and struggles to swallow the lump forming in his old throat.

"Dammit – ha – Shepard, this – I mean, you can't leave me here like this…" he trails off, fumbling for words, trying to grasp onto something as his rationale floats somewhere in space.

"Don't be ridiculous, Vakarian. As if you could ever get rid of me…" she trails off, "I still … gotta watch your back…keep your ass in place." She chuckles deep in her throat.

Her grip on his palm grows weaker, frailer, just as her breaths become shallower and quieter in opposition to his harsh, struggling gasps. His mate, lover, wife, bond-mate, partner, siha, life-mate, "half-of-my-soul," third-heart – there were many terms across the galaxy – each one never quite enough, just as one hundred years was never enough time with her.

He's back at C-Sec, and in his old blue armor, his muscles strong and his heart just as young and frustrated as ever - He's just heard that the Normandy has been attacked by an unknown vessel, and he hears Commander Shepard has been lost, her body is somewhere

-"Shepard, I- I can't do this without you," he stammers, his old, gravelly voice suddenly strange to his ears. He clutches her hand tighter, presses his forehead to it, shutting his eyes before they threaten to betray him.

He struggles to maintain his composure as her hand slowly comes to stroke the scarred side of his timeworn face, colder than he remembers it.

"Don't worry, Garrus….."

And there she is again, fast as lightning and blazing just as bright, moving faster than her feeble body can keep up with. She's strong, pushing him further along the distances they've crossed in the past hundred years. He presses his now damp face into her hand, honoring his long beloved commander, friend, partner, mate, wife, as she speaks, words floating on her final breath-

"…I'll be here if you need me."